2014 will mark that centennial of the drama which profoundly influenced the history of the world. i spent the last three years writing a book describing both how the war came about and what happened on the battlefields during its first months before the french lapsed into a stalemate. there is a widely held view, a delusion, as i shall argue, that the two world wars belong to different moral orders. nineteen -- robo one was a good war, world war ii was bad. the first subject was so horrendous that -- turned is that makes it of the two sides causes could badly to meant -- barely managed. they add a view of what they think happened. until 1941 britain defied the vast evil of nazism, berlin. in russia and the united states took this train encompassing the destruction of hitler.
the struggle was nothing like as bloody as its predecessor, says some people kid themselves. the allies had better generals who understood that our soldiers should not be allowed to become the town's sacrifices. but our ideas about the first world war i. much cloudier and indeed cannot fairly confused. even among educated people. if you have much idea why europe exploded, though they may know that a big league with an extravagant mustache got shot. the most widely held belief is that the conflict was simply a guessing mistake for which all the european powers share blame, it's folly compounded by the british incompetence of military commanders. this is what i would characterize as the poets greuel, first articulated by the likes of robert graves amid the modern blood they felt that no
cause could be worth the slaughter. today some brave people and maybe also saw americans feel almost embarrassed that we finished up on the witness -- winning side, yet my own opinion is somewhat different. while the war was assuredly a colossal tragedy, there was a cause a stake. certainly, britain could not possibly have remained neutral, while germany secured e-germany over the continent. a german victory in world war -- world war i will simply have created something like the european union half a century earlier. that we, the british, not to mention the united states could have remained unbloodied by standards. more serious historians, however, including some of the best german ones see the 1914 kaiser reich as a militarized
autocracy his victory would have been a disaster. i suggest that western civilization, almost as much reason to be grateful that the german ambitions were for stated in 1918 as in 1945 despite the appalling cost can even if the outcome of the first clash proved how the tragic impermanence because germany is time under hitler got to the fourth all over again a generation later. i will not tonight detailed events of the summer of 1914, but i will offer a quick prayer. the archduke franz ferdinand, wrote to the austria--ton variant thereof was shot dead by a young hostage -- austrian-serb terrorists. no special sorrow for funds for an animated slight, but what they saw in the average, an ideal pretext for settling accounts with serbia, a
politically troublesome little neighbor whose leaders in cited their own minorities to results. some serbian army officers and provided the weapons and households for the emperors of the assassination, although personally and think it is unlikely that the belgrade government was involved. one aspect of 1914 seems to our generation incomprehensible. most european nations regarded war not as the supreme war, but as a usable instrument of policy. in the interpretation on how the conflict came about is possible, but the only one that seems to be untenable is that it was accidental. every government believed that it acted rationally in pursuit of its national interest. austria decided in the first days of july to invade and then break up serbia.
everyone knew that russia regarded this as under their protection. vienna it dispatched an envoy to -- on this sixth of july kaiser wilhelm and his chancellor gave what the historians call the blank check, an unqualified military support for crushing serbia. this was incredibly reckless. some modern historians have produced elaborate arguments to deflect blame from germany for what followed. but it seems to me impossible to escape this undisputed fact. the kaiser's government endorsed austria's decision to unleash a balkan war, and this created everything the allies did. some serious historians, including several german one suggest that the kaiser's regime intended from the beginning of the crisis to precipitate a general european conflict. i do not buy that.
i think the germans wanted their austrian al qaeda fresh serbia without anybody else getting involved. they were amazingly willing to accept the risk that a general european countries and with all of. ruled not quite as an absolute monarchies like the czar of russia, but an autocracy in which a partially an inch timber left to posture while his generals planned for the premise that war had served pressure well with three great victories in the previous half century. they also recognized that democracy now threatened their control of their own country. there was a socialist majority in the german parliament which was vehemently opposed to militarism and promised to send to end the kaisers and dysfunctional personal rule.
more than a few conservative politicians and soldiers believe that a triumph of law could hold the events of the socialist side. they also made a mistake typical of their rage. they underestimated the dominance their country was achieving through its industrial powers without firing a shot on any battlefield. germany was powering ahead of britain, france, russia buy every command indicator. but the kaiser and his generals measured strength by counting soldiers. they were fixated by russia's growing military might. there calculations showed as early as 1916 the russians would achieve a decisive advantage. it was this prospect that caused germany's army chief of staff to growl at a secret strategy meeting in december 1912 shared by the kaiser, war, and the sooner the better. in 1914 the germans were
confident that they could achieve victory over russia and its ally, france. they discounted britain, third party in the so-called palmtops, because the army was tiny and as the kaiser cleverly remarked, the red knots have no wheels. the austrians duly declared war on serbia on the 28 to july and started bombarding belgrade. the russians mobilized three days later. apologies for germany point out that the czar's army's last move before the kaiser's did, the russian government saw no choice . the vast distances of they're countrymen that it must take longer for their forces to concentrate. they were terrified the germans would literally steal the march on. there was an argument which some historians to my respect advance and which we should acknowledge that the russians ought to have left the austrians to crush
serbia rather than lie in the conflict. but i am personally unpersuaded. a bizarre triumphed over took berlin on the 301st of july. after the kaiser signed juries mobilization order with his unfailing instinct for the rochester he ordered champagne to be served to sweet. a bavarian general of the war ministry soon after news team of russian mobilization noted, gleaming face is commendable shaking hands and corduroys congratulate one another. russia had acted in accordance with the avowed hopes of germany's military leaders. the kaiser's generals now many experts fear that france might be inclined to follow suit. wilhelm despise the french as a feminine grace, not maine -- manley like the anglo-saxons.
and this influences lack of apprehension about fighting. the french knew that the german war plan required a swift smashing defeat of their own army, before turning on russia. sure enough berlin send a message to paris saying that unless france surrendered its frontier fortresses to germany as a guarantee its neutrality would not be accepted. instead and inevitably the french mobilized. as for britain, even at this very late hour, most of its government and people opposed involvement in europe's four. they have no sympathy for either serbia or russia. some, instead, have a real fellow feeling towards germany and its culture. in july the first duke of wellington's great niece told in a fashion that echoed widespread
sentiment that it is not the germans, but the french that i am frightened of. but then suddenly everything changed. germany blundered. it's war plan demanded an assault on france through belgium of his neutrality britain was a guarantor. berlin formally notified london of its intention to invade. moto was so the shore that britain would enter the war and a weighted he decided that marching through belgium would change nothing. he could not have been more wrong. that decision cost the british government to send an ultimatum to germany committing the country to fight unless the invaded iraq has, of course, they did not. on the fourth of august britain became the last major european power to register all. it must be wrong to attribute
exclusive responsibility for what happened in 1914 to any one nation. in considering what happened i am going back again and again to a simple truth, scarcely any recent historian thinks the british, french, or even the russians wanted a european company -- conflict. the germans on the other hand, though they did not want the big war that they got, certainly will a balkan one which led to everything else in which they could prevented at any moment during july by telling the austrians to stop. and that is why they seem to it the most blameworthy. what followed in the ensuing hours was so appalling that some people suggest that germany's triumph would have been a lesser evil. but the kaiser rights records was promised even by contemporary standards.
and in normative will be on the scope of any british colonial misdeed and responsible for 100,000 deaths. so some german socialists denounce the slaughter. the kaiser decorated the senior officers to carry it out. there army committed systematic massacres of all 6,400 civilians about which later. a few historians argue that britain could have stayed neutral in 1914 and prospered mightily by doing so. but the dominating instincts of germany's leader would scarcely have been moderated. it would almost certainly have been the consequence of british neutrality. kaiser's regime did not go to war with a grand plan for world
domination. but its leaders quickly identified massive rewards as their price for granting an armistice to the allied. on the ninth of september, 1914, when berlin saw victory limning, germany's chancellor drafted a shopping list. france was to surrender its entire armada deposits, the frontier region of belfort, a coastal strip which was to be resettled by german veterans, the western slopes of the rose mountains, a strategic fortress that would be demolished, and huge cash preparations page. elsewhere luxembourg would be annexed outright. belgium and holland transformed into battle states, russia's borders vastly shrunken. a vast colonial empire would be created in central africa together with a german economic union extending from scandinavia to turkey. while other german leaders
propose different demands, some of them even more draconian, all took it for granted that they should not stop fighting until their nation had been assured its enemy over europe. it is only important continental rivals, it seems to me sensible to imagine that its rulers would, afterwards, who offered a generous accommodation to a mutual great britain all acquiesce in a global status quo dominated by british financial interests. machiavelli observed that the wars began but do not end. it any responsible allied government between 1914 and 1814 and granted such a piece is germany sought command such as it did impose on the russians after its secured victory over them in 1917. it remains very hard to see how allied states could be extracted
once the struggle began until there was a decision on the battlefield. the pellets feel that the merits of the allied course became meaningless and the struggle has been allowed drastically to this port modern perceptions. many veterans in their lifetimes deplored the notions that they spoke for their generation. one revisionist was an old british soldier named in the knowledge. he wrote in 1978 that he utterly rejected the notion that the war was one of vast useless if you dial tragedy worthy to remember only as a pitiable mistake. instead, i and my like entered the war expecting an heroic venture and believing in the rightness of our cause. we ended, as to the nature of the adventure, but still believing that our cause was
right and we had not fought in vain. almost every scene, competent recoil from the miseries of the battlefield but this did not mean that they thought their countries should acquiesce in the triumph of their enemies. george orwell wrote with his accustomed in sight 30 years later that the only way to end the war quickly is to lose it. it is a myth that europeans welcome to the outbreak in 1914. most were appalled. but some romantics and nationalists did enthuse among the men austrian house wife who wrote lyrically in her diary about have budget grandeur of the time elsewhere, however, there was a terrible this may. not only on the eastern side of the edmonton. an indiana newspaper wrote with a disdain widely shared across the american continent, whenever
appreciate so keenly is now the foresight exercised by our forefathers in immigrating from europe. [laughter] >> in one community sure police ordeals' carry the water to the church square at 430 on the afternoon on the first of august. immediately the local bell ringers some of the population. the british teacher describes the effect. it seemed that suddenly the old tocsin had returned to haunt us. no one spoke for a long while. some more out of breath among others down with shock, many still carrying pitchforks and their hands. the women asked, what can it mean, what is going to happen to us? wives, children, husbands, all were overcome by english and emotion. the wives come to the arms of their husbands with children seeing and others weeping and started to cry as well.
most of the men resorted to a kafir to discuss the practical issue of how the artist was to be gutted. then the the young and even the not so young boarded the trains and went to join the army's. winston churchill wrote after it was all over cannot know part of the great work in pairs and interest with its opening, the measured, sunland, drawing together a gigantic forces, the uncertainty of their movements and positions, the number of unknown and unknowable facts made the first collision a drama never surpassed, nor was there any of their time in the war and the general battle was waged on so greater scale, the slaughter was so swift with the stakes so high. moreover, and the beginning our faculty is a wonder, or, and excitement, not authorized and didn't mind the years.
all this was said, the view of his fellow participants regarded lows as the events with such eager appetite. many british people were at first uncertain whether they had entered the war on the right side, but opinions hardened when reports emerged about the conduct of the german invaders a belgian. yes, some of the stories were fictions, crude propaganda, but the most modern scholarly research shows that beyond several other towns in many villages, the germans shot in cold blood hostages, some 6,400 civilians of all ages and both sexes. one among many german, an officer named count kessler wrote on the 22nd of august, the inhabitants show protect our
pioneers killing 20 of them. as a punishment approximately 200 citizens were court-martialed and shot. the story of the attack was offensive, with the execution was cold fact. unnecessary to persist in detailing such episodes. the latest research catalogs 129 major in trustees during the first weeks of the war. a grand total of 6,427 civilians known to have been deliberately killed by the german army during its 1914 operations. while it is mistaken to compare the kaiser's regime to that of the nazis in a generation later, its conduct in 1914 scarcely suggests that its victory would have been a triumph of european civilization. as for the way the war was fought once it begun, almost every modern scholar agrees that it is an allusion to imagine it was never an easy part toward
winning in and had commanders of napoleonic years led the army. in any struggle between great 20th-century industrial nations an enormous amount of dying in killing have to happen before one side or the other prevails. what distinguished the second or more from the first was not that the allies had better or more humane commanders in a letter conflict but that between 1941 and 45 the russians accepted almost all the sacrifice necessary to beat the nazis, 27 million dead and responsible for 92 percent of the german army's total war loss. although heaven knows it did not seem so to those around the time , the western allies paid only a small fraction of the blood price of winning world war ii. by contrast to 191418 the british and french people's bidding much heavier forfeit, double assets of 1939 and 45 for
us, the trouble for france. in the early weeks of the first war battles were fought utterly unlike those that can later and, indeed, more like the clashes of napoleon's era than the 20th century. every nation launched almost immediate offenses except the british is little exhibition reports were still in transit when the armies of france first clashed with those of germany. the most costly single day of the entire 1914 conflict was the 22nd of august. those early battles were not remotely like that. the late summer of 1914, french is -- the french army advanced the attack across burgeoning countryside led by bands, flags
flying officers wearing white gloves and waiting sores riding horses. in one clash on the morning of the 22nd of august in thick fog french columns marched north through the village of it all just inside belgium. cavalry trotting ahead approached the farm atop a steep hill and met heavy enemy fire. a day of chaos and what followed the germans started to events, ordered by their officers to identify themselves in the mark by singing national songs. suddenly, dramatically, the mists lifted. the french infantry exposed in full view of german gunners.
a slaughter followed. the infantry tried to renew there hands uphill in short rushes. french field service regulations is in that in 20 seconds attackers could run 50 yards, therefore an enemy could relive his rifles. a survivor observed bitterly, the people who wrote those regulations had simply forgotten the existence of such things as machine guns. we could distinctly hear two of the coffee grinder said work. every time our man got up to enhance the line got thinner. finally, our captain gave the order, fix bayonets in charge. it was midday by now. our main in full kid started running heavily at the grassy slope, drums beating, beatles son in the charge. we were all shot down. i was sick. and later until i was picked up, that evening a survivor stunned by his experiences stood
death rate shockingly higher than that of their white comrades. there were so often selected for suicidal tasks. the units advanced in column through the village into a force known. the french had not recommended. they simply marched into the midst of women led by the shutter of their feet. german troops among the trees waited patiently until the whole division was committee and in unleased and tormented. trapped on a narrow track, forces command, cards, chaos until the lucky ones contrived to surrender. a division in an hour and a half loss 228 officers and 10,272
other ranks including 3,800. immemorial was elected by the fight. grieving parent never forgive himself because he responded to his sons prewar saying of wild goats by insisting that he should join to source and not. in such a fashion in a dozen battles along the frontiers of france, 27,000 young frenchman without gaining a yard of ground one general read c'mon of all, results hardly satisfactory. the next day the british in toward their own action just inside belgium. they fought gallantly enough, but heavily outnumbered they had no choice but to retreat that
night. three days later they staged another rearguard action which resembled the battle after the napoleonic wars. no one entrenches spirited germans advanced across cornfields. against british infantry and artillery deployed in full view. the slaughter was nothing like as severe as the french had faced a number of british losses or a savvy as they suffered at later on the sixth of june 1944 the british and french found themselves retreating under a blazing sun and the occasional thunderstorms in the case -- face of apparently invincible german masses. it seems overwhelmingly likely that germany was on the brink of
absolute power. it was not easy for the allied armies to altogether a retreat that turn to become a route. on the evening of the 21st of august a british officer rode in and a shock to find that to the italians and british infantry lying exhausted simply waiting to be taken prisoner by that germans. incredibly they were given that towns a written undertaking a surrender their cavalry officer hastily retrieve this damning piece of paper and somehow heard -- herded the interim in back on to their feet shuttling along the road to rejoin the army.
responded by enlisting as a private in a french foreign legion with which he lost a leg. after the working towards the fifth part and elkington and awarded him a dsl in recognition to his gallantry and searing rehabilitation. the colonel about the rest of his life as a recluse and refused ever to wear his battles humbler soldiers suffered even heart -- harsher fates. both the british and french resorted to drastic sanctions against those on whose side it was all too much. one such was private thomas high gate of the loyalists can't. on the afternoon of the sixth of september, the day the french launched their massive counteroffensive on the mark which drove back the germans from the gates of paris, and english gamekeeper on the
rothchild estate south of paris surprise tidied. the soldier made a personal decision that the glories of the moment or not for him and was wearing stolen civilian clothes. shot by firing squad on the eighth of september. a ceremony watched by two companies whose comrades falling in order from the corps commander. that officer said he wanted the executions and the maximum deterrent effect. specified that high gate should be killed as publicly as possible, so he was. today such punishments i thought to have been barbaric. regions receive posthumous pardons from the british government. to me this is a touch of market to tomorrow concede to pretend that we can retrospectively impose on our forefathers the more humane values of the 21st century. it is a good question test you would have done.
the indian army in danger of collapse, many runaway and deserve our sympathy, but they also put at risk host of their mates to must do double duty enough to make double sacrifice to compensate for those who flinch. i will not be so cruel as to say that, gate and his can deserve their fates, but i will say that if i had been the commander in that distant era and might have thought of not making the same decision on the eighth of september 1914. it soldiers had believed there was an acceptable way to get out of that ghastly clash of arms who would not have taken it? i've written a good deal about the predicament of women in the early months of the war their role was grotesquely constricted . some female patriots decided that if insufficient yemen or volunteering for military service women could do there bit by shaming in into the amen was
playing golf with a friend and just congratulate himself on a fine shot when two girls came out with the new by club house and one said, sharply, that was a good shot, wasn't it. i hope you will be making as good a shot against the germans the fog preventing both of them with white feathers. the players and identified themselves as officers in the london rifle brigade. amelie told me to monday and females are somewhat pressed and made inadequate excuses, but many women across europe found a profound sense of frustration that their own contribution to the war effort was initially confined to knitting for the troops. first of their neighbors was sometimes cynically received. cataloguing a consignment which reached his austrian unit in serbia in november. warm underwear, neatly embroidered gloves, wristlets
with the hard steps to and read convinced if it baby elephants, kneepads for stocks. grudgingly grateful but said he would have preferred cigarettes. that jim teal british magazine stirred to help women undress and expected social problems shown above the war. in its state the difficulty, on the tenth of december it raised the dilemma facing a can't-owning woman who houses a dog for an officer has gone to the front. and the doctor is killing her cats, what should she do? the lady said authoritatively that she had a responsibility to insure the dow was properly quarter but might reasonably sneak -- seek another home for it. i have ended my narrative of 1914 with the story of the first battle in october and november. the western corner of belgian the french and british avalon against huge and apparently endless attacks, the cost of leaving most of their men,
britain's professional army to propose forever in local signatories to the cemeteries. the allied victory was frustrating the germans last attempt to achieve a war-winning breaker and the west in 1914. but it was purchased at such cost in suffering and sacrifice that nobody felt like celebrating. the first true french battle of the war fought a bid -- amid mud and blood and sometimes waist-high water. those who took part found it impossible to imagine that such a struggle could continue for many more weeks, far less. today sometimes we are tempted to look upon those words, rest in peace, current on so many gravestones as a mere cliche. to those who experience to eat and all the ghastly battles that followed, those words have are
real and profound meaning. a brigadier guard officer wrote about a friend and colleague killed. when i think of poor bernard's other wariness, i looked in the trash in the early morning and we still could take his place. he was so done. i think we are now at peace away from all of this noise in misery a merit must be terrible for his wife. it cannot be bad for him. i must -- it must comfort to know that he can rest of last. well, words of that sort had a profound meaning. but me finish where i started by emphasizing my own belief that while the first world war was an unspeakable catastrophe for your and the sioux had divided, it is mistaken to consider it from an allied perspective to have been time. in the summer of 1918 the allies now including the united states
achieved a great victory in the western front which led to the armistice germany was obliged to accept a november. no sane person could suggest that next year should become an occasion for celebration of a conflict or, indeed, that victory. but i should like to hope that our respective societies can break free from the weary, stair aisle, futility cliches and a knowledge that if allied victory in the first world war led to the most imperfect peace, as do most complex, the best argument for welcoming the outcome of the first world war is to consider the alternative consequences of a german victory. 1914, germany has ruled by the kaiser and his generals. represented a maligned force. all deaths and all wars are cause for lamentation. the only credible alternative to
the huge sacrifice made by the allies was that a german military dictatorship prevailed his arbitration of europe would have been vastly more draconian than in many is the sign that for some night in june, 1919. thank you all very much, indeed. [applause] >> i'm very happy to do some questions. don't worry. it i'm terribly death. >> it is in exorable, inevitable , i substantiate, austria, hungary.
don't worry about it. could you elaborate on that? what was the relationship? >> alumnae. >> what did they say? >> no possibility. that is why the austrians on august the fifth, july the fifth, sent representatives from vienna to berlin to ensure ahead german support before they attacked serbia as they were terrified of the russians coming in against them on the run. there was one moment on the 28 in july when the kaiser and its chancellor suddenly had a crisis of nerve about what they were getting into and i'm suggesting that vienna should think about stopping. but on that same day the head of the german army was running things sent to another table, his own.
centralization. >> mostly the french communists. i have simply forgotten whether or not the intended to incorporate the belgian congo. i would think it highly likely, but it was most -- mostly the french communists they have their eyes on. >> have recently commenced reading. of if -- >> the first thing we said about 1914, the evidence is so confusing and contradictory that you can use it to advance a range of theories. and one thing i would always say myself about this, i have a take on this which is different. but i am not going to stand here and say that i think he is completely wrong because it is
possible the only way i do think he stretches too far, he argued in his extremely well-written book last year that serbia was effectively a rogue state and the austrians had a reasonable right to this rate, which i find impossible to accept. he also argued that the russians were composite in the assassination plot. there is not a shred of evidence for that. >> in your book or in print. >> i don't really believe in the first draft of my book. i expect most have been read by the age of 90i still regard this hour. when he read the first draft of my book he said, you're not writing a book reviews of everyone else's book. he persuaded me to cut out all direct references. in the end all one can do is
offer once on take. this sort of thing makes it very difficult for historians and makes a wide range of interpretations possible. for instance, we know 1945 after the allied victory, where were the allies in berlin? the american israel to ship off to washington most of the german archives. by contrast to 1918, the germans are still running things in berlin. and as soon as it became an issue we know that the germans had a terrific bonfire of documents which might conceivably have influenced, but the problem for historians as we know there was a bonfire, but we don't know exactly what was burned. and so you can -- you are always winning probabilities, and a need to give you one more example about this. chris clarke thought that the yugoslav government out that the broker -- belgrade government was complicity in the plot to
kill frons ferdinand. absolutely no evidence one way of the other. one conversation in the 1920's. as a matter of common sense i said to myself, says the army officer who was behind the plot had tried to and seriously considered assassinating the serbian prime minister a few months earlier and not persuaded that the civilian government was on sufficiently good terms still collaborate in a plot. and by the same token the suggestion that the russians would consider again as a matter of common sense, could the russians have wanted a war in 1914? the russians were in the midst of a huge rearmament program, building railways like crazy. if they waited two more years from 1916 that position would have been incorporated strongly. so i say to myself as a matter of common sense, is it likely that the russians secretly wanted of war, but none of this is susceptible.
i have great respect for this historian, even though i disagree with a good many of his points in the book, and all i can say is in the case of all of you, you take your choice. toward the back. >> you say it was trench warfare. was it true? the chinese people played no role in the out in the trenches? >> well, from the awesome everyone literally disappeared into the air if in october, november, 1914 and stayed invisible from october and november onwards. it was almost impossible for a man to raise that it literally without getting shot. and would change the nature of warfare, before october all these huge battles in which the french lost a million
casualties, everyone, it was just like the 19th century or you could see everything it was going on whereas from then on suddenly everyone burrows into the arrogance of the you look on the battlefield and it appears to be empty. no one appears except during these murderous attacks. from then onward, and the other thing, almost all serious fighting from november onward took place in the northern france and belgium sector because further south the ground was not very favorable for a tax. and in a place like that those mountains, they had little attacks. but not until 1916 did you get bigger action further south than the germans made this terrific bush. >> any more questions? >> i think we can manage to buy three more anyway. yes. >> go through belgium.
>> i personally argued in my book that it was a fantasist a lot of germans went on arguing after the war that if only yet executed the plan properly which involved a huge sweep around, then it could have won. but the big problem there were primitive motor cars, but these armies have to march on their feet and under whose of their horses. and taken 400 miles across ground. these men, it was a fantastic, beyond the mean. of course lost control of the army's so that by september it was taken 20 hours to find out where some of these forces at got to. and i think the german you right up into the 1930's and after was that it was only a loss of nerve that caused the concept, as i call it in the book.
the plan was never detailed. but i think this idea that it was the failure of execution, exercise disastrous influence because he convinced the kaiser and a lot of other people that it was possible for germany to wage a victorious war. and if they had not had that division. at the very back. >> early on. the germans looked forward to the war because the socialists were gaining power. the same argument, england, france, russia, domestication is rising. >> i am not -- in this case i am gone into this in considerable detail. but certainly in the case of the british there were overwhelmingly preoccupied in
1914 with their own domestic crises and the striking, about the king and the crisis, they were not talking about the european crisis. and one problem, i don't actually think that the british, wherever they had done, i don't think it could influence what happened on the constant to cut kampf -- comment on that stage. not paying proper attention because it was totally preoccupied. not only had the irish crisis on its hand, but also it had huge industrial labor problems with widespread strikes and many people really thought england was on the verge of revolution. again, michael howard, my hero, always says, we must always remember, there was a time when even snell in the pastor still in the future. and the fact that -- although we know now that there was not a civil war over ireland, there
seemed to the british people of that time, a real prospect that it was going to happen. >> more explicitly comment. they surrendered. >> well, outside the scope of my book. stand up in the back. germans advanced after the war. but germany could have won. it's actually nonsense. although by that stage no one was in the mood to celebrate. the allies pushed right across france. part of the trouble is, he said that he found in germany no
great sense of guilt but a huge sense of defeat because the country had been flattened, mostly by bombing. that was not true in 1918. this was part of the trouble. germany was almost on start, untouched by the war. now i'm not here for a moment seeking to make an argument that they should have read in germany in 1918, but it did make a big difference in the german attitude. it was hard to believe that they had suffered total defeat. 1945, a kid yourself how you will, you knew that they had lost. i think one more. yes. over there. >> apprehension certainly that the rice. aziz said, in part by that same
movement. it had something to do with europe. socialism, the revolutionary forces. >> the only country in which one can say fairly confidently because the evidence is there that a good many german army officers and some conservative politicians put deeply on record that they thought a triumph of brocket hold back, push back the socialist side. germany had the largest socialist party in europe in 1914. it is more difficult to quantify. i don't think for a moment. never heard anyone suggest that as foolish as they may have been, they thought that a war was a good means of sorting out the last. on the other hand, what is
amazing is that several senior politicians in britain did say publicly, and ' in the book, that at least the european war was going to take everyone's mind of the prospect of civil war in ireland which in hindsight looks fantastic, but they did say. in russia, of course, by contrast, the reason that the czar was so reluctant to get into the work and may yet seen they had the limited revolution in 1905. he was terrified that it would be the end of the romanovs. on the other end, the austrians were very strongly motivated a belief that a small war in the balkans, they did not want the big bull -- for. there really thought this could solve the problems which we can see was a disastrous misconception. have to say, those of you who don't know too much about 1914
will get the message. i heard a german historian say, i think we all agree that the july crisis of 1914 was the most complex series of events in human history. i have learned nothing in the last three years to suggest that he was wrong. anyway, thank you all so much for coming. [applause] >> book tv is on facebook. watch videos ended up today defamation and events. >> and never expected to write an entire book on cancer and tell i was diagnosed and
relatively young age i was astonished at how different audit was. i sort of expected it, a well oiled machine in which there was no guarantee, but people knew about a particular cancer. i would be followed. what i found was something really different. so i could not help starting to worry about it. >> a cancer survivor race was the economic impact of cancer and american societies and then added 9:00 eastern. ..
>> you know, frequently -- or at least not infrequently -- when i have a prepared text, i wander well off script, and i'm almost inclined to do that tonight as i look around the room ask see so many friends -- and see so many friends. as a matter of fact, it is no exaggeration to say that were it not for many of you here tonight, i would never, ever have become the 106th mayor of this great city.
even, even with the mighty bill lynch, who ran my campaign. [applause] at the urging of my family, my bride is here somewhere. here she is. [applause] 60 years this past august 30th. [applause] of tolerating me. but at her urging and the little fella which we call our son who's 59 -- [laughter] call him daddy's little fella, and his sister that he calls the golden child -- [laughter]
they each urged me to think about putting my thoughts down in writing for posterity. and i finally got around to doing it. frankly, it is largely because of len riggio. he has been insis tent from day one -- insistent from day one that i ought to write a book. although esther newburg, who i don't think is in the house but who hooked me up with peter nobler who is here somewhere -- there he is. peter is the can co-writer of this. [applause] esther once told me many years ago everybody doesn't have to write a book. [laughter] but we did. as others have said before me,
being mayor of the city of new york is the greatest job in the world. i say if you like public service and you like people, being mayor of the city of new york is better than being mayor of any city anywhere in the world. it's better than being governor of any state including new york state. the only job that's better is the one that obama has. [laughter] [applause] new york is the city that gives and gives and gives again. its wisdom is not so much its culture, but in the collective genius of its people. many of us arrived here as aspirants seeking a better life, and quite a few achieved everything we ever dreamed of and more. after childhood split between trenton, new jersey, and harlem during the great depression, you
see, my father and mother separated when i was about 6 or 7. my mother brought me here to new york. she and her mother, my grandmother, were domestics, cooking and cleaning for perhaps a dollar a day. keep in mind, i'm kind of old. i was born this -- in 1927. but we were never, never hungry. never went to bed hungry, clothes were clean because my here and grandmother scrubbed them, sewed up the holes. and i was poor, but i didn't want know it as achild -- i didn't know it as a child. so i'm really quite fortunate. but the time came when i went back to trenton because it was determined that my father could better care for us. he started with a one-chair barbershop, expanded into
several. he used to rent chairs out, then went to school and learned to sell insurance and real estate. and so these were my parents. they molded me into whatever i am. when my father told me he was going to remarry, i cried a week, because i always thought my mother and father would get back together because they were always very civil to one another. we were frequently together on holidays, christmas and easter and such. but it developed that my stepmother was really like another mother. so i am a real lucky guy. as they say, god is good. now, you've got to understand i'm 17 years old in 1945, going to turn 18 in july. i'm still in high school. and in those days everybody went
to war. no, there was not vietnam. you didn't give a thought to going to canada. everybody was going to war. and i'm young and little, and i figured the best way to increase my chances of survival was to be well trained. and to be well trained meant to me to be a marine. now, i had never heard of the army rangers or the navy seals. they may not have even had them then, i don't know. but i knew about the marine corps. so i set out to join the marine corps. i talk about it in the book. and it's a long story, but eventually i got into the ma reap corps. marine corps. and i found then a real taste of jim crow as we traveled south, and i stepped up to window to purchase a ticket, a bus ticket,
and the clerk said round the back, boy. and then i knew. these are the days of white and colored water fountains and such. and i might add that in those those days black soldiers, tuskegee airmen -- i'm sure you all know about the discuss tuskegee airmen -- they and black marines were treated less well than german and italian prisoners of war in the south. this, mind you, while the war was still going on. and immediately after that. so i learned about jim crow firsthand. well, then my stepmother sort of insisted that i go to college. i had the g.i. bill, it made
sense to go, but i didn't want to go to college. i had 2 or $300, more money than i'd had at one time in life, and i wanted to party. [laughter] but she was insistent. i said, well, it's august. school starts in september, i can't possibly get in. she says, i'll get you in. she had a classmate, dr. carol miller, and he was in charge of veterans affairs. and i had pretty good grades in high school, so i got into howard university. [applause] it is said that if you say it fast, it sounds like harvard. [laughter] but it's a fine school, it really is a fine school. and so i went off to howard, and i, it took a year and a half
before i began to get serious because for that length of time my motto was don't let your education interfere with your recreation. [laughter] but then i discovered that you had to have a concentration in some area. you had to have a major. never occurred to me. i was just going to college. [laughter] and so i had more mathematics courses than anything else, and so i became a mathematics major. did sufficiently well that i graduated with honors and won a fellowship to rutgers university. [applause] now, it is said that the mathematician has reached the highest rung on the ladder of human thought. let me hasten to say i am not a mathematician. [laughter] but i had the good fortune of having some wonderful teachers; dr. david blackwell, the head of
the department. and if you didn't have the correct answer, his attitude was not to try to embarrass you, but he said, well, perhaps tomorrow you'll be prepared. well, hell, that made you go home and study like mad. [laughter] and so i really owe it to him. incidentally, in 1990 i was mayor, and i was a speaker at a convocation at berkeley. and i'm being introduced to all these professors and to him, and i didn't listen carefully, and he says dinkins, dinkins, i had a student's name dinkins. i said, dr. blackwell! i graduated in 1950, this is 40 years later. and so, but any rate, i'd had an interesting life. i had all kinds of jobs. i dug ditches, worked in
factories, waited tables, washed cars and dishes. and i had all kinds of jobs. and at howard i met my bride. as she came walking down what we call the senior walk, a mere freshman. and i said, hey, freshman, and that was it. i was her first date at howard. [laughter] [applause] haven't looked back. there came a time when i worked at night full time in my father-in-law's liquor store. so you didn't finish work until midnight, get home quite late, and i'd come in, and my bride would say, well, this is the first or second notice, and this one called twice, and what shall
i tell them about these bills? i said, honey, i'm tired. i've got to get up early in the morning. we were living in harlem. got to carry these heavy books on the subway to brooklyn, i really don't want to hear it. and she said, well, i've got to tell 'em something. i said, you tell 'em i take all the bill withs at the first of the month, and i put them in a hat. then draw out three, and i pay them. if they keep nowing you, they won't get in -- annoying you, they won't get in the hat. [laughter] [applause] so there came a time when i was -- although i'd been admitted to the bar and was practicing law, i certainly wasn't making enough money so i could give up my night job, so i worked two jobs. i went downtown, shirt and tie in the morning, and then in the evening i went up to the liquor store. and then when time arrived that i could give up the second job, i joined the political club.
the carver democratic club was the famous -- with the famous jay raymond jones known as the fox. and early on i met charlie rangel and percy sutton, basil paterson. these guys were my friends, save perry who has gone to his reward now. but charlie and basil and i, we are still very close, and i consider myself very fortunate. i have a lot of friends, a handful in particular with whom i am very close, and a couple of them are here tonight. or skip hartman, i love to tell the story of how in 1996 i was in south carolina, and it was determined that i needed a bypass. and skip wouldn't let anybody come near me without saying are
you board certified? [laughter] and are you -- where did you go to school? [laughter] he really did. he was terrific. and then there's peter johnson jr. who i see in the back and his mommy and his bride are here down front. peter, there's a seat down here next to them. peter is the senior partner now of leahy and johnson, and i'm privileged to be one of its special counsels. and he was nice enough to put an ad in the law journal today about the book and about this event tonight. that's why so many of you are here. [laughter] so along with percy and charlie and basil we got some things accomplished. some might say that the little village of harlem produced two
borough presidents, a chairman of the house ways and means and a mayor. not bad. [applause] now, none of this came easily, but ultimately the progressive coalition that we cobbled together tore down the edifices of city politics that had ruled for many years. new york city elections would hereafter be decided by the people. my first elective office was state assembly in 1966. ray jones one day said, he smoked big si bars, boy, do you want to run for the assembly? i guess. so i did. and my opponent was franz
lightener who came from the riverside independent democrats, a very fine organization. they had congressman william fits ryan, a real progressive liberal, and i come from carver democratic club up on the hill. and so to sort of clean me up, dr. kenneth clark who happened to have been a client became the chairman of my citizens committee. you know ken clark? brown v. board of education? that ken clark. so we won. we prevailed. and i served one year, and then i got reapportioned out of my seat. [laughter] but by then i was openlessly hooked on public service -- hopelessly hooked on public service. there was really nothing i wanted to do but that. so i was the, the next year i was a delegate to the
constitutional convention, and then in 1977 percy said he was going to run for mayor. and, you know, this is -- black folks didn't run for mayor. so it took me about 30 seconds to say, well, what about borough president? percy was then the borough president of manhattan. he said you ought to run for that, and so i did. i ran three times before i succeeded. people used to say to me what do you do? and i'd say i run for borough president. [laughter] i would have been perfectly happy to remain borough president for life. when the late bill lynch who was my chief of staff came to me with some other politically-active new yorkers and convinced me that i had a chance to defeat ed koch in a
primary. now, you must remember that ed koch became mayor when he defeated mario quo poe in a runoff. -- como in a runoff. and percy sutton led us in support of ed koch who had been a very liberal progressive member of the city council and the congress and really his first term as mayor, i thought. but he moved more to the right as time went on, and people became dissatisfied with him. but in fairness to ed, i should mention no mayor has been popular in his third term, not even laguardia. so i said, well, you've got to understand, bill, i've run three times before i won, and now i'm borough president of manhattan.
great job. being borough president ain't bad. i saw ruth messenger here a minute ago, she will attest -- and helen marshall, the queen of queens, borough president as well. but bill, and i don't want this to sound like i was drafted, because i was not. but i was persuaded i ought to try. and so i did. and i have to tell you when we decided to go -- and i had a lot of good support from labor and a lot of other sources to which one would look for support when you seek that high office -- i still was doubtful. but then they said to me, well, dave, you know, you need a campaign manager who's done it before. well, frankly, that translated into you need somebody white.
because no black person had ever run a campaign for mayor of the city of new york. i said, no, i need bill lynch. [applause] because he, he believes in me. there are many hired guns out here equally good, and they really are. they have varying philosophies, of course. but i needed somebody who really believed in me, and that was bill. so we ran, we had three opponents, the incumbent, ed koch, dick ravage who had done a wonderful job with the mta, his capital program, and jay golden, harrison jay golden who i say is one of the most articulate people i've ever encountered in municipal government. so we figured or the pundits
figured that i could never prevail because even were i to finish at the top, i wouldn't get 40%, and my three opponents -- each of whom was jewish -- would gang up on me, their supporters would, and i would lose. well, we got 51%. [applause] and then i'm facing rudy giuliani in the general election. keep in mind rudy is not yet america's mayor. 9/11 has not yet occurred. you figure with the democratic enrollment over republicans 5 to 1 and if i get 51%, granted, it's a different electorate in the primary, that we would certainly win.
well, 1.9 million votes cast, and we won by a margin of about 50,000 votes. but we won. [applause] now, this was no small feat considering that no african-american before me had become mayor of a major american city with a majority white population. i have learned throughout my life that history has a way of simplifying things or even getting them wrong. people remember new york city in the early '90s as being riddled with crime. some seemed to think that it exploded during our time in office. you'd get the impression that on december 31, 989 -- 1989, when ed koch was still mayor that there was no crime. just the next day, january the 1st, 1990, when we took office.
[laughter] now, i saw bill bratton in the house a while ago back there. he, lord knows, is an expert, and i think he will attest that what i say is accurate. so we went about trying to figure out what to do about this crime. we determined, we determined on examining the police department as had not been done in a quarter century reached the conclusion that we needed, obviously, more police officers. came up with an idea of about how many we needed. but if you need more police pole officer police polices, then obt so obviously to some you need more assistant district attorneys, you need more parole and more probation and all those things related to law enforcement. so we said, well, how will we get this done?
well, we said what we've got to do is get some money from albany, that is get permission from albany to tax ourselves because you cannot tax -- other than real estate rates -- you can't do it without permission from albany. so we went to albany and judge marlon -- i don't know whether he's here tonight -- but judge marlon was my deputy mayor for public safety, criminal justice. he had been the presiding justice of the appellate division, second department. a very distinguished, knowledgeable, likable man. so he went forth to albany in pursuit of getting this legislation. and one white republican state senator said to him my
constituency is concerned with auto theft and graffiti. we said, but people are dying in the streets. well, we were able to surmount even that. and we got the legislation. and as some will attest -- and i mentioned it in the book -- from its peak, crime decreased more dramatically and rapidly both in terms of actual numbers and percentages than at any time in the modern history of new york city. [applause] on our watch. [applause] the ram was called safe streets, safe city, and it worked. it didn't work because i was taller, smarter, faster than anybody else. it worked because i had the good
fortune of being surrounded by an awful lot of very bright, young women and men who were determined that things could be better. i have to tell you i used to remind our people that i would do almost anything they recommended, but i would say to them you must keep in mind that the lincoln rule obtains. they said, what's the lincoln rule? i said, well, abe lincoln would convene his cabinet and put a question. and then he'd go around, and each person would vote in the cabinet, say nay, nay, nay, nay, nay, nay. and then you would say the ayes have it. [laughter] so that's what we used to do. but i, 90%, 95 percent of the time i followed the suggestions of my people.
i will never forget when they, it took them a week, but they explained to me that needle exchange made sense. today everybody knows that to be the case. [applause] it was not so obvious to me way back then. seeing helen marshall makes me think of queens which reminds me of the u.s. open played here just recently -- [applause] there was the fear that the u.s. open would leave new york city. they might well have gone to the meadowlands, to atlanta, a lot of other places. so it was important that we keep it not only for the jobs, but for the revenue that it helped produce. so we worked hard on that. we were successful again. this is something that required going to albany, because if
you're going to alienate parkland, you need permission of the state. and so we're many -- in flushing meadows having already moved from forest hills a but years before, and so we worked hard at that. we were successful. and i have to tell you that my successor was adamant, he used it as a campaign issue in '93. because, among other things, we had a flyover penalty provision that said if planes fly over the stadium during the course of the tournament, that there will be a penalty paid by the city to the united states tennis association which, incidentally, built the stadium. the city didn't pay for it, usta did.
so when they were ip sis tent -- insistent on having this flyover penalty provision, i said you're killing me. politically i'm dead, i can't do that. they said, well, it's a deal breaker. i said, okay, we'll do it. but what we got in exchange for it is all the monies paid by the usta to the city is a percentage of gross, not net. how often have you read in the paper about a dispute between yankees stadium or the yankees and the city about how much money is due? we didn't have that problem, because we were dealing with gross. so we were successful, and today in two weeks the u.s. open generates more revenue into the economy of the city than the yankees, mets, knicks and rangers combined. [applause] that number is north of $700
million each year. [applause] my friend mike bloomberg, who ought to know something about good deals -- [laughter] he will tell you, and this is almost a precise quote, he says the only good athletic sports stadium deal not just in new york, but in the country. so, in fact, each year i'm just delighted. i spend a lot of time at the open day and night. you make these sacrifices when you -- [laughter] we also during our time created fashion week, restaurant week, broadway on broadway which some of you will remember. we've continued for decades now and attract attention and tremendous revenue in the city on an annual basis. most notably during our term
racial tensions eased despite the realities of economic downturn which gripped our city and our nation. although we had precious few dollars to spend on social programs, perhaps the folks in need gave us a pass, because they knew that we would, indeed, be for them when the economy changed. never the less -- nevertheless, with a huge budget shortfall we spent $47 million to keep each branch library open six days a week, and somewhere here is harvey robbins. where is e? yeah. harvey, harvey robbins kept saying to me, mayor, we can do it. [applause] we can do it. and we did it. but you'll find three and a half people who will remember that. [laughter] to me, public libraries are an essential component of a democratic society. and i would have none of that
talk about cutting back on those services. of course, crown heights is covered in the book. as much as it was painful to write about it, we did. and while i wish the incident had never happened, i don't blame anybody else, because it happened on my watch, and the buck stops here. however, in the book in some detail i rejected the pervasive myth that the police were instructed to allow the black population to riot in our streets. just think about this, why would anybody want this to happen? and so notwithstanding my, i think, solid record of support for the jewish community and the state of israel, there were those who nonetheless so accused me. that was painful, and we write about it. to be real clear, there was no order given, no unstated code, no tacit understanding and no
one who told the police not to do their jobs. i say the police department of the city of new york is the best in the world at riot situations. why they don't, they didn't do it that time, i don't know. i wish i had insisted sooner that they do better. i ought to tell you that it was ray kelly wolfs -- who was then the deputy commissioner, deputy police commissioner. he was -- his function during that period was not a line function out there, but he did come out and say, asked lee patrick brown if he wanted his help, and dr. brown said, yes. and it was ray kelly who helped us restore order out there. he ultimately maim my police -- became my police commissioner. he's the only man to have served two separate administrations.
he, as you know, is police commissioner now. incidentally, i never called him commissioner. from the day i swore him in until this present. i call him colonel. because he's a kohl them in the marine corps -- a colonel in the marine corps. i was a private first class. [laughter] one day i greeted him, and i said, colonel, and i turned to his wife veronica, and i said, mrs. colonel. [laughter] and she said, mr. mayor, i have a title of my own, and i outrank you. [laughter] i said, what's that? petty officer first class united states coast guard reserve. [laughter] she has since been promoted to chief. so if you encounter veronica kelly, just call her chief, and she will know that you've been talking to me. [laughter] but i suppose more important than anything else is that in crown heights we lost gavin cato
and yank l rosenbaum. you will remember, a divinity student from australia who was attacked in the first few hours. frequently i will read of riots in crown heights culminating in the death t of rosenbaum. but it didn't happen that way. he was attacked early on. i suppose if i had to pick a single event during our time in office, it would have to be receiving nelson mandela. [applause] just a few days ago they unveiled a statue of nelson mandela in washington before the
south african embassy. a site at which a few of us, more than a few of us were arrested back in the days of apartheid. but nelson mandela stayed with us in gracie mansion -- which is where the mayor lives unless you've got $80 billion like mike -- [laughter] and so joy said i don't think he -- i said i don't think he'll fit in that bed. joy said, yes, he will. i said i don't think so, honey. and later i realized why i had doubts. i introduced him to bill clinton and al gore, and so we had photographs. and i realized the photograph that bill clinton is slightly taller than nelson mandela. but in my mind he was 10 feet
tall. so each year i send the same message, happy birthday, mediba. his birthday is july 18th, and mine is july as well. i say happy birthday, mediba. when you're 109, i'll be 100, and we'll meet and toast one another. [applause] in the book i tell the story of how one of bill lynch's dreams was that we're going to have nelson mandela speak at yankee stadium. but we had trouble getting yankee stadium. george steinbrenner said it wasn't available, and i don't know whether he thought we'd tear up the place or what. [laughter] but billy joel saved the day and gave us, donated to us one of
concert days for which he had paid and contracted. and so it was terrific. the place was packed. and there came a time when i draped a jacket, a yankee jacket around his shoulders and placed a yankee cap on his head, and he said you know who i am, i am a yankee. [laughter] and the place just erupted. [applause] so you put that together with the ticker tape parade and all the other things we did, it really was a great moment for me. incidentally, steinbrenner heard about this because this went around the world, and he decided we didn't have to pay anything. [laughter] so some suggest that it may be that mediba knew what he was doing and gave me a little wink when he did that.
perhaps he did. but as expected, the second election between rudy and me was pretty rough. to use ed koch's language, it was nasty. ed koch did a book, you know, rudy giuliani, nasty man. that was the title of the book. [laughter] [applause] so i believe, i believed then as i do now that racial characterizations made by rudy played a big role particularly his false allegations that we were soft on crime. because the facts show otherwise. and yet it remains that i lost the election by something like 44,000 votes. and were it not for the staten island secession vote that was on the ballot that year, things might have been different. you may recall they had on the
ballot a question of whether or not staten island could secede from the rest of city. now, i'm no legal scholar, but i have to tell you that if i give you a mortgage on my house, i can't then go and sell the roof to somebody else. the whole house backs the debt. and the debt of the city of new york, all of the city of new york, stands behind the city's debt. so i said, well, marr owe cuomo is a brilliant legal scholar. remember, he was considered for a seat on the supreme court of the united states. i said mario will never sign it. but it won't get to him anyway, because mel miller, the speaker of the assembly, will turn it down. the assembly was democratically-controlled. well, it passed the assembly,
and the governor signed it, and thereby it was on the ballot. and so that caused a huge turnout in staten island. and i don't know, that might have made the difference. but none of this should be construed as my being bitter or distraught by this loss. i'd long been at peace with the choice made by the voters. on election night in '93 when we had lost and it was my job to come down and concede, people were very unhappy. but some of by folks -- my folks like ron gault and george daniels, the distinguished federal jurist, was -- they were there. and peter johnson, and they said, no, dave, we must be statesman-like. so i said, okay.
so among the things i said was that in this country we don't have coups and revolutions, we have elections. mayors come and mayors go, but the city must endure. man, i was a statesman. [applause] the next morning i looked at my bride, and i said, you know what? we've got less than 60 days. see, this is november. you know, election's in november, right? i said we've got less than 60 days to get out of gracie mansion, find a place to live, a means to pay the rent and simultaneously transition a government in a professional, responsible way. now, all of my people, they had the same problems i had. they had mortgages, tuitions and what not. but god bless 'em, to a person
they were terrific. so we handed rudy well done, professional transition papers. and because i have the good forcheck up of having -- fortune of having so many friends, a lot of opportunities opened up. peter johnson said, well, you be special counsel to leahy and johnson. i said, you got me. of. [laughter] and percy sutton called and said do you want to do a radio show? on and on like that. vernon jordan called me and said ron perlman will call and ask to meet with you. i didn't know ron perlman, you know, he's the guy that owns revlon. and i said, okay. he said he'll make you a deal. i said, all right. he said, take it. [laughter] so i became a consultant with a seat on one of his small boards, not revlon. i must have been there for six or seven years. had an office right next to andy stein who had been my opponent
for so long. so i'm a very fortunate fellow. it is no exaggeration when i say that were it not for so many good friends -- i don't mean just the people who gave me money or voted for me, but i mean a whole lot of folks -- many of them here tonight. and you don't know what effort it a takes -- it takes to resist calling names of each one of you. so, arnie, you will understand if i don't call your name. [laughter] i've got to tell you, it's a certainty, but clearly not all voters -- there's some, but clearly not all voters prefer to vote for someone of their own color or religion or ethnic background, what have you. it's not necessarily a bad thing. it's just the way it is. i'm not wise enough to know if it's a learned behavior or just plain human nature. but it also is a certainty that
i became the 106th mayor of the city of new york because a whole lot of white people voted for me. therefore, it is wrong to say that i won the first election because black folks voted for me as it is to say i lost the second election because white folks voted for giuliani. now, i'm not backing off my statement that rudy ran a racist campaign, because he did. what i'm saying is that racism was not the only reason i lost the second election. americans, and i submit especially new yorkers, are too smart for that. and by the way, hasn't president barack obama dispelled this mythology once and for all? the same time we'd be putting our heads in the sand if the we didn't recognize that for some people racism is a way of life. this is not just true in america, but in all countries which have large groups of diverse populations.
nor should we ignore the reality that americans eon going struggle -- ongoing struggle for civil and human rights is being tested even as we speak today. rights once fought for and won after a long struggle such as the right to vote without fear of intimidation, the right to a high quality and equal public education, the right to a fair cannes at the american dream -- chance at the american dream are today being abridged by zealots who are determined not just to slow or stop progress, but to repeal and reverse matters of human dignity. in the my view, these zealots will lose because they always do. and america will win because we always do. ours is not a perfect democracy, but it's as close as any nation has ever come to perfection. although memoirs are by definition written for posterity, my hope is that many young americans will read this book. i say this because it's clear as
a bell to me and to millions of concerned citizens that our government is not working as well as it could and should. i say this not with a sense of pessimism, but with the wisdom of having lived through the good, the bad and the great in recent american history. we will do better. to do so, we'll have to encourage young people to become part of the process. people like the bright young students i teach at columbia university. along the way we must remind them that our system is only as good as its leaders. and that they could be the difference if only they would be willing to serve. sitting on their duffs as far too many do is just not going to cut it anymore. nor is merely joining the chattering class. we need more young people to run for office, and we need more of them in leadership positions.
look, if a skinny kid from trenton -- i wasn't always this fat -- [laughter] if a skinny kid from trenton could one day become mayor of the greatest city in the world, all things are good and possible. let me at this point as i conclude offer my profound thanks to the many great people who served in our administration, many of whom remain in public affairs. also to acknowledge my friend, the late bill lynch, without whom someone else would be writing this book. bill was the best friend a man could ever have and a true genius in every sense. i'd also like to thank my friend len riggio -- [applause] an insightful adviser and the man who founded barnes & noble where we sit and stand today.
he was especially helpful to me in writing of this book. and last but by no means least, my thanks to peter nobler. [applause] he worked long and hard on the formidable research aspects of putting this book together and otherwise did a terrific job in coaching a first-time author like me. thank you all for being here. [applause] >> great, great job. [inaudible conversations]
>> in a moment or two, the mayor will sign books for those that would like them signed. our tradition here is we typically and the attendees to pose a few questions to us, but owing to the time we'll just take a couple. first question, mr. mayor, what advice would you give to president obama in dealing with congress? [laughter] >> i don't know how many baseball players are fans here, i see one. i'd tell him to take two and hit to right. [laughter] no, i offer him no advice except to stick to his guns, to be true to what he knows to be right and hope it'll work out in the end.
i don't have any special knowledge or experience that i can offer him beyond that. >> okay. another question, what advice would you give to a young person entering politics and public policy as a career, especially a person of color? is. >> well, i see one sitting right here. there's a friend of mine named virginia mall nelson -- jamal themson. he is what we call a posse scholar of. he won a fellowship, he went to vanderbilt and won a fellowship to harvard's divinity school, and he had an interest in government and public policy. and i suggested to him that he ought to start at the bottom. and he is an ordained minister in harlem and a democratic district leader, and one day, one day he may sit in city hall.
[applause] >> the best question of all, what advice would you have for -- [inaudible] tennis game -- [laughter] and this be applied to life? >> well, i have a lot of people here tonight with whom i've played tennis over the years. ronald t. gault has carried me, he's over yonder. he has carried me on many a time, and when i was clearly the least of the four people on the court, ron stayed with me anyhow. skip hartman would get up early in the morning to come out and try to teach me how to hit a forehand or a backhand.
but i'll tell you, you do learn, seriously, you do learn something about a person by their behavior on a tennis court. you truly do. isn't that right, bobby? [laughter] >> okay. thank you very much, mr. mayor, and we're ready for the -- [applause] signing. >> ladies and gentlemen, please, one more round of applause for mayor dinkins. thank you. [applause] if you would like to get a book signed today, please remain in your seats. once again, please remain -- >> you're watching booktv, nonfiction authors and books every weekend on c-span2.
>> this fall booktv is marking our 15th anniversary, and this weekend we look back at 2007. the national book award that year went to tim wiener for "legacy of ashes: a history of the cia" and the henry paolucci award was given to andrew roberts for "a history of the english-speaking peoples since 1900." the national book critics circle award went to edwidge danticat for "brother, i'm dying." >> they say their going to put me in prison. it was difficult to register emotion on the voicebox, but uncle frank thought he sounded like he was of caught up in something he had no way to have understanding. it's not true, they can't put you in prison, uncle frank recalls telling him. you have a visa, you have papers. did you tell them how long you'd
been coming here? uncle frank then asked uncle joseph to put the cbp officer on the phone again. he can't, uncle frank said, he's 81 years old. uncle frank then asked if he could speak to my uncle one more time. the cbp office told him we already have a translator for him and hung up. at 11 p.m. my uncle was given some chips and soda again. at 11:45 he signed a form saying that his personal property was returned to him. the form lists as perm property the money -- personal property the money, plus the wristwatch. at 11 a.m. i received my phone call. at 4:20 a.m. my uncle was transported to the airport's satellite detention area which was in another concourse. by then my uncle was so cold he wrapped the woolen airplane blanket he was given tightly around him as he curled in a fetal position on a cement bed until 7:15 a.m.
at around 7:30 a.m., they left the detention area to board a van to -- [inaudible] he was handcuffed but asked if my uncle would not be handcuffed because of his age. the officer agreed to not to handcuff my uncle but told him to tell him that if he tried to escape, he would be shot. >> over the next few weeks, booktv -- now in its 15th year on c-span2 -- is taking a look back at authors, books and publishing news. you can watch all of the programs online at booktv.org. >> as i see it, there wasn't -- [inaudible] there has been a presumption that somehow if we can find just the right leader, especially in the military, he would be able to turn around the ship of pakistan. it's an erroneous conclusion. sometimes we have to combat a narrative with a narrative. if the narrative is that you
know we as a muslim country, an islamic country have a special place in the world and, therefore, some of the global rules don't apply to us, nuclear weapons, yes, we told the americans we are not making nukes and kept getting their aid, but then in the end tested the nukes that we said we were not making, then maybe we did something -- at least we broke, if nothing else, we broke a promise. that there should be -- that can only be combated by a narrative. but this view that if we develop a personal relationship with the top ranking guy on the other side it'll help us, is not new. not the first to try and befriend the pakistani army. and the other joint chiefs who is duly mentioned in my book. and that was under president eisenhower. and, again, there was the same phenomenon going repeatedly
meeting with the pakistani leader and building relations. and admiral mullen, in all sincerity, worked very hard. 26 meetings with anybody is a lot of meetings. and he thought that general haqqani, who was a pakistani army chief, was really committed to eliminating terrorism. and he just wanted to find that tipping point to where general that haqqani's desire to eliminate terrorists and his desire to maintain military balance with india, he could find that tipping point where instead of india, pakistan's military would start focusing more on terrorism as the problem. >> are you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> bill bryson examines numerous events from the summer of 1927 that placed the united states on